Archive for May, 2007

I like it!

Mayor Tremblay announced his Transit Plan this past week and I was completely floored by how audacious and how environmentally progressive it is.

What is getting most of the chatter in the press is how Mayor Tremblay plans on financing his transport plan: with tolls.

Reading the various commentators and listening to the various ‘streeters’ that Radio Canada and TVA have done and it appears some quite haven’t gotten it.

Who really hasn’t gotten it is the mayor of Brossard, Jean-Marc Pelletier. Upon hearing of Tremblay’s plans to put tolls on roads that lead into Montreal (not on the bridges or the autoroutes) proclaimed that he too will put tolls on the roads leading to the Eastern Townships so that Montrealers will have to pay on their way to the Eastern Townships.
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Top Ten Ways to Survive a Transit Strike

Okay Metrobloggers, we’re less than 24 hours away from a city-wide transit strike, and with talks between the STM and the Syndicat du transport de Montréal at a virtual standstill there’s nothing much to do except resign ourselves to it. As a community service, I’ve compiled a list of strike survival tips which are waiting for you after the jump. Use them well.
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Conduire à droite

Cet après-midi, sur la rue Sainte-Catherine, j’ai quelqu’un conduire du côté droit de son véhicule. Alors que l’auto passait devant moi, je regardais très attentivement avec peur que j’aie des problèmes de vision, mais les autres conducteurs étaient bel et bien à gauche de leur voiture.

Montréal va bientôt devenir Londres… avec plus de soleil.

More A/V Multimedia on the History of Saint Laurent than you can shake a stick at

Howdy!

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Peggy Curran over at the Gazette wrote a fluff and feelgood article about Project 55. Project 55 is an oral history project directed by Steven High somehow affiliated with Concordia University. On first blush it s pretty cool. They have the requisite mp3 file, and they have pdf files as well that help explain things.

But what I find most interesting is how it seems like every two or three years someone thinks it is going to be a fabulous idea to do some history of Saint Laurent and stick it up on the web. Governments are suckers for that sort of thing, falling over themselves to throw money at anyone who even writes teh words “history,” “Saint Laurent,” and “Internet.” in the same grant application.

Last year, ATSA did their FRAG on the Main. In 2004 they did a test of FRAG on the Main, that they must not have been terribly satisfied with as they then went and redid it..

Then if you want an earlier (abd audio-less version) I strongly reccommend Parks Canada’s version which went up in 1998 or so.

And finally, in a nice bit of timing there is an exhibit on right now of work by Bill Vazan at Vox which just so happens to have one piece of his called “Walking to the Vanishing Point June 13, 1970, Northward on Saint Laurent, Montreal.” Which is a series of pictures Mr. Vazan took at every street corner from Saint Laurent and de la Commune to Saint Laurent and Somerville.

[update May 13: I just discovered that there is another piece of art that deals with Saint Laurent and the 55 bus. It is called Fifty-Five, and it is by Kinga Araya, and currently it is being exhibited around the city as part of Rythmes Urbains.]

Drunk city of Montreal worker ruins Bar Mitzvah

Check out this story. There is so much happening in just a few lines that you would think that this is a proposal for a movie.

What are they building there?

My research institute lies at the very end of Royalmount avenue, which is expected to remain a cul-de-sac until 2038 when it will finally be connected to Cavendish. Over the past ten days, our relative isolation has been compounded by a huge construction site a hundred meters to the East, right on the Montreal-Mont Royal border. We’re talking a lot of trucks and a lot of dust.

We can tell from the size of the foundation that this thing is going to be big…but we still have no idea what it’s going to be. Strangely enough there are no big signs proudly announcing the function of the new building nor the identity of it owner. To me, this means that it will probably be bad news.

Don’t Believe the Hype

Warner Bros, announced this week they will stop all pre-screenings of their films this summer. This essentially means that private radio stations across the city won’t be calling “caller number 7 gets to see..”

The real purpose of this announcement is to put the heat on the Canadian Government to change its laws regarding digital piracy.

Dr. Michael Geist is the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa and has a very interesting blog concerning these issues. His post regarding Warner decision is a very fascinating read.

In it, Dr Geist points out that “Warner Bros. astonishingly now claims that 70 percent of camcorded movies have been traced to Canada over the last 18 months. Given the claims of 20 percent, 23 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent, and 50 percent did not make the requisite impact (in fact, the USTR even rejected the movie industry’s request to escalate Canada on the Special 301 Watch list), we now get a blockbuster number of 70 percent. Of course, just yesterday the head of the Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors Association told the Industry Committee that the number was between 20 – 25 percent. Moreover, with New York City taking 40 percent of the camcording claims and with Spiderman 3 apparently appearing on China streets weeks before the previews in Canada, the numbers just don’t add up.”

The media, for the most part has published stories that really, have not gone into depth on this issue.. merely reporting that Warner is stopping pre-screenings because of concerns that Canada is a pirate heaven and that Montreal is the nerve center of this piracy. The real purpose of this maneuverer is to simply to attract the Government’s attention and to plant in Canadian’s minds that we are a piracy heaven.

We aren’t, and I’m not buying Warner’s or any other studio’s numbers.

Comment from an STM maintenance worker

A Metroblogging Montreal reader left this comment on Laiya’s post about the looming STM strike, and I thought that it deserved a wider audience. If any other STM employees happen to be reading, I encourage you to share your thoughts with us here.

Just to let you guys know, that maintenance people at the STM are not ONLY the people who clean the stations and garages. I work as a maintenance employee at the STM and my job involves repairing electronic equipment, which, with the aging of our metro, fails more often. We are asked to patch equipment that is over 40 years old with parts that we do not have. Our job just keeps on getting harder and harder over the years. Meanwhile, the personnel that retires is not being replaced/re-hired, so we end up with more and more work for the same salary.

It’s unfortunate that the strike affects the public, and personally, I am against it, BUT it is the only way that our employer and the general population will listen to us. We have tried talking to our employer, and they have closed their ears, saying that they cannot negotiate with us, even though our collective agreement has been expired since January.

I know that the majority of people are not on our side, but understand that this strike is not illegal, it has been allowed by our government. Essential services will continue, and the maintenance employees, although on strike, will still be working at maintaining the Montreal metro and repairing all of the obsolete equipment, so that you can get to work/school/etc on time.

I am not asking for sympathies, just for a bit of understanding. We do not want to take the population hostage, and believe it or not, but we are also left to ourselves when it comes to transportation, since we (dept I work for) start and finish at a time that essential services are not operational. I will be biking to and from work for the duration of the strike.

Hope we don’t end up going on strike, and that the STM has the decency to at least start negotiating with its employees, but if we do go on strike, rest assured that it’s not a vacation for us, on the contrary it’s more of a hassle than anything else.

Posted by: STM Guy at May 10, 2007 09:49 PM

Bien s’habiller pour faire de la trotinette

Ce n’est pas tous les jours qu’on voit quelqu’un avec des vêtements de bureau faire de la trotinette. J’adore les belles choses que l’été apporte.

Bien s'habiller pour faire de la trotinette

Phil from Amazing Race visits Montreal for NOW

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Phil Keoghan, host of the wildly popular reality show “The Amazing Race” was in town Wednesday night at Indigo downtown to promote his book and reality TV show “No Opportunity Wasted”. Phil and the producers of NOW are currently on tour in Canada, looking for candidates for their upcoming show on CBC.

The lineup for Phil’s book signing was on the upper level of Indigo and went to the back of the store. Phil is a popular guy. When he stepped out to greet the crowd, he made a short speech, telling everyone about the philosophy behind NOW and encouraging everyone to take risks and live life to its fullest with no opportunity wasted. The producers of the show handed out application forms to people in line and encouraged people to apply online. They also had an area set up with a camera crew for people who were ready to apply right away and record an audition tape video. A few camera crews from the media such as ET Canada were milled around filming the event.

I was able to get Phil to sign a copy of his book for me. He seemed really nice and took the time to take photos with everyone. I can also report that he’s taller in person than he looks on TV. If you’re interested in learning more or applying to be on the show, check out the website for NOW

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